Second Baptist Battles Past Southwest Christian 10-7 to Capture TAPPS Division II State Title

Second Baptist battled through adversity for most of the first half of the season but it all paid off today as they beat Southwest Christian 10-7 in a wild game to capture the 2024 TAPPS Division II Baseball State Championship. Sophomore 1B/P Christian McCleary was named the Division II Championship Game MVP. He was 2-3 with a double and 3 RBIs.

Southwest Christian scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the 2nd. Joshua Blanco got on base by an error and moved to 2nd base on a Grayson McKelvey single. Blanco then stole 3rd base. With no outs, Cooper Kirkpatrick grounded into a double play but Blanco scored. 1-0 Southwest Christian.

Second Baptist tied the game in the top of the 3rd. Andrew Clark and Jace Trozzo walked. Christian McClearly sacrificed them over. Wes Baker then got a ground ball to 1B that got Clark home with the run, tying it at 1-1.

Second Baptist broke the tie in the top of the 4th. Thomas Womble got an RBI single. Trozzo and Baker both drew a walk with the bases loaded. Second Baptist led 4-1.

Both teams would pick up one more run before the big innings hit. Southwest Christian got their run in the bottom of the 5th when Slaid Chandler sacrificed a run home cutting the lead to 4-2. Second Baptist got the run back in the 6th when McCleary hit an RBI double for a 5-2 Eagles lead.

Southwest Christian responded in a big way in the bottom of the 6th with three runs. Jackson Burns scored on a balk, Grayson McKelvey got a ground out RBI and Cooper Kirkpatrick hit an RBI double. Southwest Christian had tied the game at 5-5 going to the 7th.

That’s when Second Baptist responded in an even bigger way. They got runs on a Samuel Garcia RBI double, a Sameule Arrendell RBI bunt, a 2 RBI single by McCleary, and a Wes Baker RBI single. When the final out was made in the inning Second Baptist had a 10-5 lead.

But Southwest Christian would not go quietly. They scored two more runs in the bottom of the 7th on a Joshua Blanco bases loaded 2 RBI single. The tying run came to the plate before pitcher Thomas Womble struck out the last batter.

“We’ve been absolutely relentless this year,’ McCleary commented. “It’s one of the toughest teams I have ever been on. We’ve battled through injuries. Came in as the #4 seed. We got rolling at the right time and stuff went our way. We’ve worked really hard for this. It’s an amazing feeling to come away with the win.”

“The real difference in this game was starting pitcher Ethan Eschweiler,” Head Coach Rayner Noble explained. “We usually get just a couple of innings from him but today he gave us some strong innings. We usually have to piece together our pitching staff but he got us going in the right direction today.”

“This team rivals the toughest team I’ve ever coached. We were down and out about halfway through the season and we just came together and said ‘Let’s go and see what we can do.” You’ve got to give the credit to the kids. They all bought in. And our senior leadership was outstanding.”

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Second Baptist 0 0 1 3 0 1 5 10 8 1
Southwest Christian 0 1 0 0 1 3 2 7 7 1


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